buying condoms or finding them for free is easy!

What is a condom and why does it matter?

Condoms are the only form of birth control that protects against pregnancy AND Sexually Transmitted Diseases – also known as STDs! They work by blocking sperm (and other fluids). Condoms come in many textures, sizes, colors, and materials. They are 85-98% effective and are easy to find! There are two kinds of condoms, the male condom (or external condom) that goes on the outside of the penis and the female condom (or internal condom) that goes inside the vagina or anus. Female condoms can be more expensive and harder to find, but these tips will work just the same!

Do I need to be over 18 to buy condoms?

No, anyone of any age can buy condoms! They are available in many different places like supermarkets, drug stores, gas stations, clinics, and more. Sometimes condoms are stored behind glass or behind the counter but this does not mean you can’t buy them. Just ask for the ones you want!

Step-By-Step Instructions for Buying Condoms:

  1. Find a location that sells condoms.
  2. Pick the condoms you want. Remember that condoms come in many different textures, sizes, colors, brands, and materials. All condoms you buy are effective, and sometimes people like to try different ones until they find their favorite!
  3. If the condoms are behind glass or behind the counter, simply ask a sales person for the ones you want. Don’t be worried. Anyone can buy condoms.
  4. Check the condom box for the expiration date (yes, they expire!) or for any damage. If the box is damaged or is close to expiring, grab a different one!
  5. Take the condoms to the counter and purchase them! Remember, ANYONE can buy condoms. Don’t be embarrassed at the cashier. Your purchase is none of their business. Plus, it’s smart to have condoms on hand!
  6. Store your condoms correctly until it’s time to use them. Condoms should be stored in a room-temperature place like a drawer or cabinet. Condoms should never be stored in a wallet or your car, because it can be too hot and they’ll get damaged!

While it’s easy to buy condoms, you can also get them for free! TeenSource makes it easy for you.

Step-By Step Instructions for Getting FREE Condoms:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your city, zip code, and date of birth. Teens in some parts of California can order condoms to be delivered to their house and other teens can find free condoms near them!
  3. To have condoms delivered to your house, select that option and enter your name and address. If you do not feel comfortable having the condoms mailed to your own house, you can use the address of a close friend or family member (just warn them ahead of time). The condoms will arrive in an unmarked padded envelope. You can order condoms once every 30 days.
  4. To pick up free condoms, find a location on the map. Locations with a blue dot may require you to fill out paperwork and see a clinician or healthcare provider to get free condoms. Other locations should have condoms available for you to pick up.
  5. Go to the location.
  6. Locate the free condoms or ask someone if you don’t see them.
  7. Store your condoms correctly until it’s time to use them. Condoms should be stored in a room-temperature place like a drawer or cabinet. Condoms should never be stored in a wallet or your car, because it can be too hot and they’ll get damaged!

More Tips!

  • It’s always a good idea to have condoms on hand even if you’ve never had sex. You never know when you or a friend might need them. Having condoms on hand will make you feel more comfortable and prepared!
  • Be confident. Getting condoms shows you are mature and responsible. If you can’t find what you are looking for, ask someone!
  • Condoms can be used with lube but make sure the lube is water-based and does NOT have any oil. Oil-based lubricants including baby oil, coconut oil, lotions, and any food product will actually break down the latex of the condom and make them not work.
  • Condoms should be used only one time. Once you are done with the condom, throw it away!

While condoms are the only form of birth control that protect against pregnancy AND STDs, there are many other methods of birth control. Learn more about birth control options that might be right for you at TeenSource! You can also learn more about STDs, how to get tested and how to prevent STDs. Don’t forget to find a clinic near you to get birth control or STD testing!

This blog was reposted from, a project of Essential Access Health. is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.

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